’Canes Family Lends a Helping Hand

’Canes Family Lends a Helping Hand

The University of Miami joined forces with several agencies to aid victims of recent natural disasters in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.
The University of Miami joined forces with several agencies to aid victims of recent natural disasters in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.
by Andres Tamayo
UM News

In the aftermath of the hurricanes that struck the Caribbean Basin, Texas and Florida, and the earthquakes in Mexico, the University of Miami joined forces with local agencies to provide aid through a host of donations and community service.

UM student organizations quickly organized the ’Canes for the Caribbean effort to collect essential goods, educational supplies and cleaning supplies. Multiple student organization suites at the Shalala Student Center continued to host drop-off boxes throughout October, with the third and final collection day in the University Center Breezeway scheduled for October 26.

The student efforts supplemented larger efforts under way at the University through a partnership with the United Way of Miami-Dade and Ryder Systems.

“It is in times of great need that our collective spirit can make the greatest difference,” said President Julio Frenk. “Thousands of individuals and families have evacuated their homes, with countless in need of shelter, food, water, and basic necessities.”

Frenk and Edward Abraham, dean and chief academic officer of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, sent emails to the UM community encouraging them to donate supplies including nonperishable foods, bottled water, baby products, toiletries, feminine hygiene products and household supplies.

“Our faculty, staff and students are committed to help meet some of the most basic needs for our hardest hit citizens,” Abraham said. 

Through the partnership, Ryder Systems provided logistical support to pick up donations, while the United Way of Miami-Dade worked with partner agencies to handle the distribution of the donations to families in need. 

The outpouring of support from the UM community helped raise nearly $2,000 and resulted in hundreds of supplies being transported to those in need in Mexico, Texas, Florida and the Caribbean.

But the UM community was involved in more than just collections.

On September 22, a day after UM welcomed residential students back to campus housing after Hurricane Irma, the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development organized a Hurricane Irma Relief Day of Service.

More than 250 students gathered at The Rock and were bused to nine locations across South Florida, including Barnacle Historic State Park, Miami Rescue Mission and Fairchild Tropical Garden, to clear debris from streets, re-stock warehouses with emergency supplies and provide smiles to fellow Miamians seeking to rebuild.

“We saw the need for help and we really wanted to do something,” said Andrew Wiemer, director of programs at the Butler Center.

In addition, doctors at the Miller School of Medicine have made several trips to Puerto Rico to deliver medical supplies, assess patient needs and offer assistance to medical officials on the ground.

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